960 results for Masters, 2015

  • Maximising the Potential of Existing Urban Infrastructure: Can Infrastructure Reuse Provide Successful Public Spaces?

    Kean, Gemma (2015)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    There is great potential for innovative and creative public spaces beyond the traditional park or plaza to exist, yet this is still what most local authorities provide for in their public space policies. As cities intensify there is a need to provide additional public space in what may not have been considered to conventionally be a part of the public realm. Infrastructure is one example which can be used to provide additional public space through the adaptive reuse of a site, instead of abandonment or demolition when infrastructure is no longer required due to technological advancement. This research investigates whether the adaptive reuse of infrastructure can help create successful public spaces, and whether reuse can contribute towards improving the connectivity of an area. This is done using two case studies: Paddington Reservoir Gardens and the Ultimo Pedestrian Network in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. The project explores whether there is too much focus on reusing the space with minimal adaptation, and the extent to which the planning processes enable or inhibit development, and allow for or discourage stakeholder involvement. The findings indicate that the adaptive reuse of infrastructure can provide interesting public spaces, however, success is dependent on the surrounding context. The two case studies employed in the research are vastly different. Despite this, the results show that infrastructural public spaces need to be active, provide for a range of users, and incorporate themes such as stickability and fine grain design to contribute positive outcomes to an urban environment.Often with infrastructure there is a risk of focusing too much on the preservation of heritage sites or making do with what already exists, instead of taking a greenfield approach to development. This can lead to spaces which are not integrated with the surrounds and which are not frequented or used as well as they could be. Further research needs to be undertaken to better understand the extent to which these particular public spaces-adaptively reused infrastructure differ to other spaces in the public realm.

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  • The Experience of Depression in the Tokelauan Culture in Two North Island Communities

    Loan, Iain Stuart (2015)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Background and Aims: The Tokelauan language lacks a word that corresponds to the western term ‘depression’. Furthermore, there is no research on the experience of depression in Tokelauans, and yet doctors continue to apply a western biomedical model of depression to Tokelauan patients and those from other Pacific cultures. This research aims to describe the experience of depression in Tokelauans and provide insight into its management. Better awareness of the symptoms and signs of depression as experienced by Pacific Islanders will enhance diagnosis and treatment of the illness by general practitioners. Method: Following extensive consultation with the Tokelauan community in Taupo, and using purposive stratified sampling, ten respondents contributed to this study. Semi-structured in depth interviews were performed and recorded verbatim. The transcripts of the interviews were thematically analysed using an immersion crystallisation technique, with further analysis to detect sub themes. Results: There is no specific word for depression in the Tokelauan language but an illness involving extraordinary sadness does exist. Ordinary sadness is regarded as just ‘part of life’ but extraordinary sadness can be classified as “unwellness” or “a burden". Tokelauans use several indicators to recognise someone with extraordinary sadness. The main indicator is isolation and withdrawal from family and community activities as well as absence from work and church. Tokelauan men are more likely to hold their feelings in and may indicate their unwellness with increased alcohol use or violent tendencies. For Tokelauans, privacy and pride are important cultural characteristics and these may be barriers to recognising sadness. The shame and loss of status associated with displaying sadness may also cause a person to hide his or her feelings. Often the smiling Tokelauan face becomes the mask that hides sadness. The main causes of extraordinary sadness are the changes caused by western influences on the Tokelauan culture and the stress of poverty and unemployment. The family, community and church are all important avenues for caring and for counselling the Tokelauan with extraordinary sadness. Discussion: This research documents some of the features of depression experienced by Tokelauans that are different from those that doctors may be trained to detect and manage using a western biomedical model. This research demonstrates the complexity of relationships between the patient, their illness and their culture that impacts on how the illness manifests. Similarly, this research indicates that therapy must have a holistic approach that includes the family, the community and that accounts for the patient’s spiritual beliefs. Te Vaka Atafaga is a metaphor for Tokelauan wellbeing involving a canoe. Its structure is representative of different components of health, and it provides a holistic model for the general practitioner involved in assessing and treating Tokelau Islanders with a possible depressive illness. The model does not exclude the use of western medical approaches, but it emphasises the need for social disharmony to be corrected to allow healing. Conclusion: The presentation and management of depression in Tokelauans may differ from that of other patients in a general practice setting. The Te Vaka Atafaga model provides the general practitioner with a tool to assess the different components that comprise health in the Tokelauan. A holistic approach involving the family, spirituality and correction of social factors along with palagi medicine is then necessary for treatment.

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  • A Qualitative Exploration of the Barriers and Enablers to New Zealand City Councils Developing and Implementing Food and Nutrition Policy

    Gower, Jacinda Ruth (2015)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Background: Diet- related non communicable diseases and obesity are the biggest cause of ill health and mortality in New Zealand. Current government public health approaches do not appear to be effective in preventing non- communicable diseases and obesity as rates continue to increase. To combat the obesity epidemic research suggests government regulative policy which positively shapes food environments is needed. New Zealand’s current government’s ideologies’ reject public health nutrition regulative policy so are unlikely to be an effective agency to reduce obesity and non- communicable disease rates. Local Authorities have been proposed as an alternative government organisation that has the ability to positively influence local food environments through developing and implementing food and nutrition policy. However, no New Zealand Local Authorities have food and nutrition policy and currently, there is no research regarding Local Authority food and nutrition policy in a New Zealand context. Objective: This research project aims to explore factors which enable, hinder and influence New Zealand City Councils’ ability to develop and implement food and nutrition policy. Methods: This public health nutrition study is set in a policy context so qualitative research was used to explore the social and organisational factors influencing City Councils’ development of food and nutrition policy that supports health food environments. Semi- structured in depth telephone and face-to-face interviews were carried out with 21 participants with representation from each of the 12 City Councils and Auckland Council. These interviews consisted of nine core questions which were informed by a review of the literature. All interviews were recorded and selectively transcribed. A general inductive approach was used to thematically analyse the data to categorise it into six major themes underpinned by minor themes. A single case study design was used to portray emerging themes and to understand the context of New Zealand City Councils’ capacity to develop food and nutrition policy. Results: The results of this study identified an array of factors which influenced City Councils’ decision making to develop and implement food and nutrition policy to improve local food environments. Six overarching categories emerged as being prominent to explaining City Councils’ capacity to influence food environments. These categories are council resources, community influence, political factors, long term plans, national-level governments and research, case studies and nutrition guidelines. All of these influencing factors had the potential to act as a barrier or an enabler dependant on the local political environment. The main finding is City Councils’ have the capacity to develop food and nutrition policy when there is a widespread awareness and prioritisation of food environment issues in the agenda of three key groups; the community, elected members of council and council staff. Conclusion: New Zealand City Councils capacity to develop and implement food and nutrition policy is determined by a host of external, internal, national and local influence factors. A multi pronged approach of strong local political support, partnerships, credible champions and local or case study research are needed for food environment issues to be addressed by City Councils through the LTP and subsequent food and nutrition policy. To achieve this New Zealand’s public health community need to be active advocates at a City Council level and be involved with activating communities and raising awareness around food and nutrition issues.

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  • Adapting a Hyper-heuristic to Respond to Scalability Issues in Combinatorial Optimisation

    Marshall, Richard J. (2015)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    The development of a heuristic to solve an optimisation problem in a new domain, or a specific variation of an existing problem domain, is often beyond the means of many smaller businesses. This is largely due to the task normally needing to be assigned to a human expert, and such experts tend to be scarce and expensive. One of the aims of hyper-heuristic research is to automate all or part of the heuristic development process and thereby bring the generation of new heuristics within the means of more organisations. A second aim of hyper-heuristic research is to ensure that the process by which a domain specific heuristic is developed is itself independent of the problem domain. This enables a hyper-heuristic to exist and operate above the combinatorial optimisation problem “domain barrier” and generalise across different problem domains. A common issue with heuristic development is that a heuristic is often designed or evolved using small size problem instances and then assumed to perform well on larger problem instances. The goal of this thesis is to extend current hyper-heuristic research towards answering the question: How can a hyper-heuristic efficiently and effectively adapt the selection, generation and manipulation of domain specific heuristics as you move from small size and/or narrow domain problems to larger size and/or wider domain problems? In other words, how can different hyperheuristics respond to scalability issues? Each hyper-heuristic has its own strengths and weaknesses. In the context of hyper-heuristic research, this thesis contributes towards understanding scalability issues by firstly developing a compact and effective heuristic that can be applied to other problem instances of differing sizes in a compatible problem domain. We construct a hyper-heuristic for the Capacitated Vehicle Routing Problem domain to establish whether a heuristic for a specific problem domain can be developed which is compact and easy to interpret. The results show that generation of a simple but effective heuristic is possible. Secondly we develop two different types of hyper-heuristic and compare their performance across different combinatorial optimisation problem domains. We construct and compare simplified versions of two existing hyper-heuristics (adaptive and grammar-based), and analyse how each handles the trade-off between computation speed and quality of the solution. The performance of the two hyper-heuristics are tested on seven different problem domains compatible with the HyFlex (Hyper-heuristic Flexible) framework. The results indicate that the adaptive hyper-heuristic is able to deliver solutions of a pre-defined quality in a shorter computational time than the grammar-based hyper-heuristic. Thirdly we investigate how the adaptive hyper-heuristic developed in the second stage of this thesis can respond to problem instances of the same size, but containing different features and complexity. We investigate how, with minimal knowledge about the problem domain and features of the instance being worked on, a hyper-heuristic can modify its processes to respond to problem instances containing different features and problem domains of different complexity. In this stage we allow the adaptive hyper-heuristic to select alternative vectors for the selection of problem domain operators, and acceptance criteria used to determine whether solutions should be retained or discarded. We identify a consistent difference between the best performing pairings of selection vector and acceptance criteria, and those pairings which perform poorly. This thesis shows that hyper-heuristics can respond to scalability issues, although not all do so with equal ease. The flexibility of an adaptive hyper-heuristic enables it to perform faster than the more rigid grammar-based hyper-heuristic, but at the expense of losing a reusable heuristic.

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  • Nutritional assessment of older New Zealand adults living in rest homes in the lower South Island

    Greenwood, Daniel (2015)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Background: The increasing numbers of New Zealanders aged over 65 years will place a large burden on healthcare resources and rest home facilities around the country. Malnutrition is a major contributor to adverse health outcomes in the elderly, leading to higher mortality, morbidity and lower quality of life. There is very little information on the prevalence of malnutrition among New Zealand rest home residents, and there is not any information on the adequacy of nutrient intakes in this population. However, international data show very high rates of malnutrition and poor nutrient intakes amongst elderly residents in long-term low-level care. Objective: The specific aims of the study are in residents of two rest homes in the Lower South Island: i) To describe the prevalence of inadequate nutrient intakes; ii) To describe the prevalence of malnutrition risk; and, iii) To describe the prevalence of anaemia. Design: This cross-sectional study included 35 participants (14 men and 21 women), aged 69-102 years who lived in 2 rest homes in the lower South Island. Information on demographics, medical history, medications and supplement use were collected from medical notes. Malnutrition screening was done using two different screening tools- Mini Nutritional Assessment-Short Form and Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool. Cognitive function and mood were examined using the Clock Drawing Test and the Geriatric Depression Scale. Anthropometry measurements collected were; height, ulna length, weight, using standard protocols and body mass index (kg/m2) was calculated using average ulna length measurements. Dietary intake data were collected with 3-day food records, over 2 non-consecutive week days and one weekend day. Food intakes were matched to nutrient lines in the New Zealand Food Composition Tables to determine nutrient intakes. Nutrient intakes were then compared with current recommendations to estimate the prevalence of inadequate intakes. Blood and urine samples were taken for later analysis of biochemical nutritional status. Ethical approval was granted by the University of Otago Human Ethics Committee (Health) (H13/118). Results: The duration of stay in the rest homes ranged from 4 to 161 months (mean = 47months. Fifty percent of participants had a BMI over 25kg/m2, and 11% were underweight (BMI <20 kg/m2). Overall energy intakes were low, with 43% of men and 76% of women having suboptimal energy intakes (P=0.046 for differences between men and women). Sixty-three percent had inadequate protein intakes. Mean saturated fat intake was high, (16% of total energy intake), and average fibre intakes were low (19 g/day). All participants had suboptimal selenium and vitamin D intakes, although 83% of participants were on a monthly vitamin D supplement. Over 90% had inadequate intakes of calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6 and vitamin E, and over 20% had inadequate intakes of thiamin and vitamin B12. When assessed with the MNA-SF tool, 53% were classified as being at risk of malnutrition. When using the MUST screening tool, 39%, were classified as being at risk of malnutrition. Anaemia rates were high in both men and women (57%). Conclusion: We have shown that malnutrition and inadequate micronutrient intakes are prevalent in rest home residents in the lower South Island. More research and strategies are needed to ensure that rest home residents are gaining the appropriate level of nutrition required to stay healthy and functional for as long as possible. 

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  • Larval drift and development of amphidromous fishes, particularly the bluegill bully (Gobiomorphus hubbsi)

    Jarvis, Matthew Graham (2015)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Amphidromy is a distinct life history strategy found in many aquatic organisms, involving a return migration (‘drift’) to a pelagic feeding habitat (usually the sea), undertaken by newly hatched larvae. The freshwater fish faunas of many Indo-Pacific islands are dominated by amphidromous species, yet they remain understudied, especially their larval stages. Amphidromous larvae hatch out exceptionally small and undeveloped, and so face a range of specific challenges during migration such as irreversible starvation and failed development if migration is delayed, as well as management difficulties due to their small size. Basic ecological knowledge such as timing and extent of migration remains unknown, but is crucial to the management of amphidromous species. It was therefore the aim of this thesis to further our knowledge on the larval ecology and migration of a number of New Zealand’s amphidromous fish species. This thesis examines patterns of larval drift and development, focussing on the bluegill bully (Gobiomorphus hubbsi), an endemic eleotrid. A distinct diel and spatial drift pattern was documented, with the vast majority of fish larvae migrating to sea within a few hours of sunset. It is suggested that targeting conservation measures within this window of drift represents a potentially beneficial management strategy for amphidromous species. Development and starvation of larvae was also examined, both through field studies and lab experiments. No distinct pattern of starvation was observed in larvae during their seaward migration, however larvae retained in freshwater failed to develop to as complete a state as those transferred to seawater, implying delayed migration may adversely affect amphidromous fishes developmentally, ultimately reducing their success upon reaching the sea. These results indicate both threats to amphidromous fishes during their larval migration, and a potential approach which may prove beneficial in conserving these fascinating and vulnerable species.

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  • The X-ray Crystal Structure of Alanine Racemase from Acinetobacter baumannii

    Davis, Emily (2015)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Acinetobacter baumannii is an opportunistic Gram-negative bacterium, which is a common cause of hospital acquired infections. Numerous antibiotic resistant strains exist, emphasising the need for developing new antimicrobials. Alanine racemase is a pyridoxal 5’-phosphate dependent enzyme, responsible for racemisation between enantiomers of alanine. As D-alanine is an essential component of the bacterial cell wall, its inhibition is lethal to prokaryotes, making it an excellent antibiotic drug target. In this study, A. baumannii alanine racemase (AlrAba) was cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli. A purification protocol was then developed involving ammonium sulphate fractionation and chromatography steps (Hydrophobic interaction, anion exchange and size exclusion). This purification protocol was able to produce 11.5 mg/L of AlrAba with a purity of greater than 95 %. The kinetic parameters of AlrAba were determined using spectrometric coupled enzyme activity assays. The Vmax and Km for the L-alanine to D-alanine reaction were found to be 220.5 U/mg and 1.56 mM, respectively. The Vmax and Km for the D-alanine to L-alanine reaction were found to be 11.3 U/mg and 0.56 mM, respectively. AlrAba was successfully crystallised and the structure was determined using X-ray crystallography. The structure was initially solved to 1.9 Å resolution via molecular replacement using the monomer of Pseudomonas aeruginosa alanine racemase as the search model. The final structure had an Rfactor of 19.7 % and an Rfree of 23.4 %. The resolution was then extended to 1.65 Å with an Rfactor of 20.6 % and Rfree of 23.6 %. The tertiary structure AlrAba was established to be a homodimer, in which the two monomers interact in a head to tail manner, resulting in two active sites per enzyme. Each active site is comprised of residues from the N-terminal domain of one monomer and the C-terminal domain of the second monomer. The N-terminal domain corresponds to residues 1 – 230, and consists of an eight-stranded α/β barrel. The C-terminal domain corresponds to residues 231 – 356, and mainly contains β-strands. Comparison of AlrAba with alanine racemases from closely related bacteria demonstrated a conserved overall fold, substrate entryway and active site. The structure of AlrAba will provide a template for future structure-based drug design studies.

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  • Living in Two Cities: Lessons for the church today from Augustine's City of God

    Broome, Deborah Louise (2015)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Reading Augustine’s City of God through the lens of public theology, as well as in conversation with some of his leading commentators, provides an opportunity to discover how Augustine’s account of the two Cities (the civitas Dei and the civitas terrena) might inform the role of Christians in contemporary New Zealand, those who are living both as citizens in temporal society (the secular realm) and members of an alternative, Christian, society. There are parallels between Augustine’s society and our own which make a reading of City of God instructive for the Church today. The occasion of Augustine’s writing of City of God is briefly discussed, as is the theme of the two cities in the Bible and elsewhere in ancient literature. Attention is given to the nature of public theology and significant issues which public theologians must address, including the location of the debate (a secular public square), the language used, and the right to speak. A key notion is ‘seeking the welfare of the city’. Augustine is considered as public theologian and as apologist. The structure of City of God is analysed, key themes considered, and a précis offered which focuses on Augustine’s treatment of the two cities throughout the work. The nature of the City of God and the Earthly City are examined, in discussion with major commentators: the cities are societies defined by their members and by what their members love. The Church is not the City of God, but is rather a sign and an anticipation of it. Likewise, the Earthly City is not Rome, nor the State. The two cities are interwoven and intermixed, perplexae and permixtae with one another, and interact in this present age, in the saeculum. Central to Augustine’s thinking is that members of the City of God on pilgrimage in the world should not withdraw from that world but be involved in its society and institutions. Ways in which Christian communities might engage with the surrounding culture are examined, including the idea of work as loving service; and a number of lessons for the Church today are drawn. Dealing with ‘the other’ and encountering diversity are important issues. The relationship between the Church and the State is considered, as is the nature of the Church as public space in its own right. A deeper relationship between Christian faith and public engagement is encouraged. Central to the application of City of God to our current setting is the idea of the citizens of the civitas Dei on pilgrimage, and what it means to be part of a pilgrim city. Viewing City of God through an eschatological lens is crucial. A major conclusion is that ‘living in two cities’ is not merely a description of what it feels like for Christians today: it is an indication of how our life is actually meant to be.

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  • The Impact of Ocean Acidification on Parasite Transmission

    Harland, Hannah (2015)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    This study examines how ocean acidification affects parasite transmission. Ocean acidification is a global process which has already started to have negative impacts on the marine environment, and these are predicted to escalate with future acidification. These include impacts on reproduction, development, calcification, osmotic regulation, and survival. Parasites are key components of all marine ecosystems, influencing the survival of their hosts, and also indirectly affecting other species within marine communities. Many parasite species possess vulnerable life history stages, which are sensitive to abiotic changes. Intertidal parasites have therefore been proposed as good bio-indicators for the impacts of ocean acidification. This research used Maritrema novaezealandense and its first and second intermediate hosts as a model system to look at the impact of ocean acidification on parasite transmission. It was hypothesised that acidified conditions would affect transmission from the Zeacumantus subcarinatus snail host to the Paracalliope novizealandiae amphipod host. Parasite transmission was tested under three pH levels (pH 7.4, pH 7.6 and pH 8.1) and infection success within amphipod hosts was determined. Parasite infections in amphipods were significantly higher at the pH 7.4 level. Infection by this parasite may therefore increase with future ocean acidification. Amphipods were more vulnerable to parasitism under seawater acidification and may be the weak link in this model system. To see whether parasite genotypes vary in their sensitivity to acidified conditions, the transmission success of eight different parasite genotypes was examined. Genotype was not found to significantly impact infection success, with pH level being the main determinant of infection success, regardless of genotype. The virulence of parasite genotypes did vary, however, with some genotypes inducing greater amphipod mortality following infection. Parasites which are less virulent may therefore have an increased chance of reaching the definitive host and this could be particularly important when this sensitive amphipod species is faced with both the stress of parasitism and ocean acidification.

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  • Reconsidering The Nonhuman Animal: A Multidisciplinary Approach

    Muirhead, Eliza Kate (2015)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Nonhuman animals exist to humans in a myriad of different ways. As companions or entertainers, as tools for scientific endeavour, within the natural environment and lastly, for the majority of people they exist as a source of consumable food or materials. To study the human-animal relationship, as it is becoming increasingly popular to do, is to confront the complexity of these relations. The popularity of such an endeavour is exemplified by the rise of a relatively new discourse of academic enquiry called human animal studies (HAS). HAS places the nonhuman animal in the spotlight of a multidisciplinary discussion which explores the question of what the human relationship with nonhuman animals ought to be. However, before this question can be posed, we must first understand the rich and interconnecting history of epistemology that has formed our contemporary ‘way of knowing’ the nonhuman animal. As a result of examining how certain disciplines have sculpted our contemporary understanding of the nonhuman animal we can also demonstrate the necessity of a multidisciplinary approach. It suggests that without a dialogue between particular fields, such as philosophy and science, we are limited in our ability to construct a set of ethics that may articulate what our proper relationship with nonhuman animals ought to be. This thesis provides a brief overview of the epistemology that has formed our current understanding of this question and situates the discussion within the field of science communication. In much the same way that the field of deep ecology first suggested in the 1980’s, the field of science communication suggests that in order to bring in to question the contemporary ‘way of knowing’ the nonhuman animal and therefore our current use and treatment of them, we must create a dialogue between the theoretical, social, political and historical (Naess 1984). This dissertation will review areas where a disconnect between the fields of science and philosophy have resulted in producing ‘untruths’ in the way that we ‘know’, ‘value’, ‘think’ and therefore ‘act’ for and ‘represent’ the nonhuman animal. It will show that there is a disconnect between what we know about the nonhuman animal through science, on their intelligence, ability to experience the world, and the way that ethics have developed to guide in how we ought to treat the nonhuman animal. The artefact component of this dissertation, Human|Animal a 25min documentary, is a reply to this call. It acts as a piece of science communication and aims to create a personal response in the audience in order to elicit a re-evaluation of the current way in which the nonhuman animal is utilised in western society. By engaging in a multidisciplinary dialogue the film asks the audience to consider, and potentially form an opinion, on what our current treatment of the nonhuman animal ought to be.

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  • Targets of the QseM Antiactivator in Mesorhizobium loti

    Major, Anthony Scott (2015)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Quorum Sensing (QS) is a system used by bacteria to coordinate gene expression in response to population density using secreted diffusible signalling molecules, known as autoinducers. Many QS systems are similar to the model LuxR/I system originally discovered in Vibrio fischeri, where constitutive expression of the autoinducer synthase luxI produces acyl homoserine lactone molecules (AHLs) known as autoinducers at low levels. Once the population density reaches a threshold level, the regulator LuxR recognises and responds to the AHLs, activating downstream gene expression. These systems may also involve an antiactivator, that acts on the LuxR protein to prevent premature activation of the system by low AHL levels. Mesorhizobium loti strain R7A contains a mobile 502-kb symbiosis island known as ICEMlSymR7A which can transfer to nonsymbiotic mesorhizobia in both the laboratory and the environment. The excision and transfer of ICEMlSymR7A is directly controlled through QS via the actions of the the regulator TraR that acts in conjunction with AHL made by the autoinducer synthase TraI1. TraR activity in turn is controlled by the antiactivator QseM, through direct interaction with the TraR+AHL signalling molecule complex to block promoter activation. In this work, RT-qPCR was used to demonstrate that QseM had an effect on downstream TraR-regulated gene expression. Strong expression of the ICEMlSymR7A excisionase gene rdfS or the TrbC protease gene traF is known to have an inhibitory effect on cell growth. These genes are regulated by QS through the intermediacy of the msi172-msi171 gene product which is a single protein, FseA, that is produced by frame-shifting. A conjugation-based growth-inhibition assay involving introduction of a potentially lethal plasmid overexpressing target proteins into cells either overexpressing or not expressing QseM was developed to detect targets of QseM. The assay confirmed that TraR was a target of QseM and further suggested that FseA was a further target. RdfS and TraF were eliminated as targets. Bacterial two-hybrid analyses confirmed FseA as a target and narrowed the interacting portion down to the Msi172 portion of the frame-shifted protein. Furthermore β-galactosidase assays showed that FseA was unable to activate the rdfS promoter in the presence of QseM. Overall, this work confirmed the role of QseM as an antiactivator within the ICEMlSymR7A transfer system regulatory network and revealed it has more than one target. A 6-His tag was attached to QseM and a high concentration of protein was purified. Attempts at determining QseM interacants through Mass Spectrometry from a R7AΔqseM lysate proved difficult despite distinct bands being seen. QseM was subjected to circular dichroism that inferred that QseM is composed solely of α-helices, as is TraM, an antiactivator that targets TraR from the Agrobacterium tumefaciens QS system.

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  • A Study of Labour Negotiators: Orientation and Behaviour

    Ferguson, Kelly (2015)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    This exploratory study examined individual negotiator social value orientation (preferences for the distribution of negotiated outcomes) and individual negotiator behaviour (strategies and tactics) in a labour relations context. Interviews were conducted with professional labour-management negotiators and collective bargaining negotiations were observed. The findings reveal that the majority of negotiators are competitively oriented and that a number of negotiators have a mixed orientation (both competitive and collaborative). Furthermore, the study reveals that distributive strategies and tactics dominate in real-world negotiations. Most of the negotiators were found to adopt a distributive strategy exclusively. However, the study also revealed that a number of negotiators utilise both distributive and integrative behaviours (albeit within a predominantly distributive strategy). Furthermore, the study examined the rigour with which behaviours are implemented. Since distributive strategies and tactics were found to be dominant it was not possible to analyse the rigour of integrative behaviours. Notwithstanding, the strength of distributive strategies and tactics were analysed. The findings show that negotiators implement distributive tactics from along a continuum that ranges from “hard” to “soft”. In fact, the majority of negotiators were found to be operating at some mid-point along that continuum, adopting a “moderate” approach to distributive bargaining that was neither hard nor soft but fell somewhere in-between. Finally, this study considered whether orientation predicts negotiation behaviour. The findings show that competitively oriented negotiators adopt distributive strategies and tactics almost exclusively, whereas the negotiators with a mixed orientation were found to be far more likely to adopt some integrative behaviour (even though their overall approach is predominantly distributive). As mentioned, the findings reveal that distributive behaviours are implemented with different degrees of rigour. Competitively oriented negotiators were found to engage in hard, moderate and soft distributive bargaining. The majority of cases were categorised as moderate, but hard and soft approaches exist. In contrast, negotiators with a mixed orientation were found to implement a moderate distributive approach only. The implications for this research and avenues for future research are discussed.

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  • Treaty over the teacups : an exploration of teacher educators’ understandings and application of the provisions of the Treaty of Waitangi at the University of Canterbury, College of Education.A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degreeof Master of Education in the University of Canterbury

    Stark, Robyn Ann (2015)

    Masters thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    Teacher educators at the University of Canterbury, College of Education, like all teacher educators in Aotearoa New Zealand, have ethical, legal, and moral obligations in relation to Te Tiriti o Waitangi/the Treaty of Waitangi. The Treaty is an agreement that was signed in 1840 by representatives of the British Crown and representatives of independent Māori hapū (sub-tribe). The failure of the Crown to uphold the Treaty plus the colonisation of New Zealand has held wide-ranging ramifications for Māori, including a negative impact on Māori education. Policy guidelines both at a national level and locally at the University of Canterbury provide requirements and guidelines for teachers and teacher educators in relation to the Treaty. The aim of many of these guidelines is to address equity issues in education and to support Māori ākonga (students) to achieve success as Māori. This thesis draws upon data from interviews with five teacher educators from the University of Canterbury, College of Education to explore their understandings of the Treaty and how these understandings inform their practice. A qualitative research approach was applied to this study. Semi-structured interviews were used and a grounded theory approach to the data analysis was applied. Three key themes arose from the data and these provided insights into the teacher educator participants’ understandings of the Treaty, how they acquired Treaty knowledge and their curriculum decision making. Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) ecological systems theory approach was used as a framework to situate how the teacher educators’ understandings of the Treaty have developed. Critical theory and concepts associated with critical pedagogy underpin this research. Critical pedagogy highlights the importance for teacher educators in New Zealand to have an understanding of the historical and contemporary complexities of educational issues related to the Treaty.

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  • Tall Poppy Syndrome and its effect on work performance

    Dediu, Igorevna (2015)

    Masters thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    The aim of this study was to find out whether employees would perform worse if they perceived their work colleagues to have negative attitudes towards tall poppies (colleagues favoured the fall of tall poppies rather than rewarding tall poppies), thus displaying typical tall poppy syndrome perceptions. Performance measures were: decision-making vigilance, decision-making dependence, decision-making avoidance, problem solving, creativity, service quality, and the personality construct need for affiliation. Control variables were age, tenure and need for achievement. The design of the study was cross-sectional, online surveys were used to collect the data. The link to the survey was distributed using LinkedIn groups and Facebook advertising, yielding a sample of 229 participants. The data was analysed using regression; the results confirmed 3 of the 7 hypotheses. The results indicated that employees working in an environment that favoured the fall of tall poppies, showed lower decision-making dependability and higher decision-making avoidance. Internal service quality was partially confirmed, it was negatively associated with participants working in an environment that favoured the fall of tall poppies, rather than reward; Theories about the contribution New Zealand’s history has made to the development of tall poppy syndrome are considered. Practical implications of the results are discussed. Directions for future studies in industrial and organizational psychology on the effects of tall poppy syndrome on work performance are discussed.

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  • The Function of TAR1 and the Evolution of the Retrograde Response

    Walker, Mark (2015)

    Masters thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    TAR1 is a protein coding gene situated antisense to the 25S rRNA in S. cerevisiae. Tar1p is localized to the mitochondrial inner membrane, and expression is enhanced under conditions of respiratory dysfunction. One common cause of respiratory dysfunction in S. cerevisiae are selfish mitochondrial mutants known as ρ- mitotypes. ρ- mitotypes exhibit drive within the cell following sexual reproduction ; outcompeting host cells and inducing respiratory dysfunction. Respiratory dysfunction activates the Retrograde Response, which involves the expression of genes to compensate for loss of anabolic activity that accompanies respiratory dysfunction. The Retrograde Response also leads to the formation of lifespan shortening Extrachromosomal rDNA circles. Amplification of rDNA circles has the effect of increasing TAR1 at the same time as lifting transcription repression. This observation led to the hypothesis that the formation of rDNA circles was a positive effect of the Retrograde Response, and that TAR1 may serve to ameoleriate the spread of respiratory incompetent mitochondria following sexual reproduction. In this thesis, experiments are conducted that show that TAR1 does suppress the drive of selfish mitochondrial mutants. Additional bioinformatic analyses show that the Retrograde Response may be a recent adaption to selfish mitochondrial mutants.

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  • The use of head mounted displays (HMDs) in high angle climbing : implications for the application of wearable computers to emergency response work.

    Woodham, Alexander, Timothy (2015)

    Masters thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    As wearable computers become more ubiquitous in society and work environments, there are concerns that their use could be negatively impactful in some settings. Previous research indicates that mobile phone and wearable computer use can impair walking and driving performance, but as these technologies are adopted into hazardous work environments it is less clear what the impact will be. The current research investigated the effects that head mounted display use has on high angle climbing, a task representative of the extreme physical demands of some hazardous occupations (such as firefighting or search and rescue work). We explored the effect that introducing a secondary word reading and later recall task has on both climbing performance (holds per meter climbed and distance covered), and word reading and recall (dual-task effects). We found a decrease in both climbing performance and word recall under dual task conditions. Further, we examined participant climbing motion around word presentation and non-word presentation times during the climbing traverse. We found that participants slowed around word presentations, relative to periods without word presentation. Finally, we compared our results to those found in previous research using similar dual-tasking paradigms. These comparisons indicated that physical tasks may be more detrimental to word recall than seated tasks, and that visual stimuli might hinder climbing performance more than audible stimuli. This research has important theoretical implications for the dual-tasking paradigm, as well at important practical implications for emergency response operations and other hazardous working environments.

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  • Enrichment facilitates recovery of spatial memory but not retrosplenial immediate early gene hypoactivation after anterior thalamic lesions

    Mercer, Stephanie Ann (2015)

    Masters thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    The anterior thalamus exists within an ‘extended hippocampal memory system’ and has extensive reciprocal connectivity with regions known to support spatial memory function such as the retrosplenial cortex (RSC). Damage to the anterior thalamic nuclei (ATN) in humans as a result of injury or neurodegenerative disease is associated with severe anterograde amnesia that is not therapeutically manageable. Rat models of ATN lesions have provided potential avenues of treatment through environmental enrichment, to ameliorate some of the lesion-induced deficits. Previously, behavioural recovery after enrichment did not accompany recovery of the striking immediate early gene (IEG) hypoactivation in the RSC found after ATN lesions, but the tasks used may not have been sensitive to RSC function. A modified radial arm maze (RAM) task sensitive to RSC lesions was therefore used to determine whether behavioural recovery was associated with improved expression of zif268, an IEG associated with spatial memory. Initially, water maze spatial tasks were used to establish spatial memory deficits prior to enrichment and to assess memory during the period of continuous enrichment and when overnight enrichment was continued thereafter. There was little or no evidence of recovery from substantial impairments in water maze memory tasks in rats with ATN lesions. However, subsequent testing on the RAM revealed clear, albeit partial, recovery of spatial memory in the enriched rats with ATN lesions. Nonetheless, levels of zif268 expression in the superficial layers of the granular RSC remained at the same level of hypoactivity of standard-housed ATN rats; instead, there was some evidence of recovered CA1 zif268 expression. ATN lesions were also associated with reduced cell counts in the mammillary bodies, which were also not recovered in enriched rats. These findings suggest that IEG expression in the RSC may not always be a critical biomarker for spatial memory function in rats.

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  • Small business tax compliance burden : what can be done to level the playing field.

    Ma, David (2015)

    Masters thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    One of the major issues associated with taxation are the costs incurred by taxpayers when they comply with their tax obligations, this is particularly important for smaller business taxpayers. Compliance costs are found to be regressive, falling with disproportionate severity on smaller businesses. This trend can be found across the globe and more importantly, in New Zealand. Prior research has shown that the severity of the regressiveness has increased over time. The current, “one-size-fits-all”, approach used in the New Zealand tax system, and others alike, have created undue complexity for small businesses. This study reviews small business tax regimes and concessions currently implemented (or proposed) in different countries to relieve the compliance burden for smaller businesses. Australia, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States have either implemented a separate tax regime, or offers tax concessions to smaller business taxpayers. New Zealand on the other hand, presents minor ad hoc tax concessions for small business taxpayers, but since 2009, there have been proposals to change this system. This study evaluates and compares all the implemented (or proposed) regimes and concessions of the selected countries. Following from the case studies, interviews are conducted with tax professionals that have worked closely with smaller businesses, in order to shed light on the possibility of implementing a similar regime in New Zealand. The findings show that a small business tax regime has many avenues to consider, however, there is general consensus that suggests small business taxation should be kept as simple as possible. This thesis puts forward a baseline for further discussion and development of a small business regime to reduce compliance costs for smaller businesses.

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  • Refinement and Normalisation of the University of Canterbury Auditory-Visual Matrix Sentence Test

    McClelland, Amber (2015)

    Masters thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    Developed by O'Beirne and Trounson (Trounson, 2012), the UC Auditory-Visual Matrix Sentence Test (UCAMST) is an auditory-visual speech test in NZ English where sentences are assembled from 50 words arranged into 5 columns (name, verb, quantity, adjective, object). Generation of sentence materials involved cutting and re-assembling 100 naturally spoken ‟original” sentences to create a large repertoire of 100,000 unique ‟synthesised” sentences. The process of synthesising sentences from video fragments resulted in occasional artifactual image jerks (‟judders”)‒quantified by an unusually large change in the ‟pixel difference value” of consecutive frames‒at the edited transitions between video fragments. To preserve the naturalness of materials, Study 1 aimed to select transitions with the least ‟noticeable” judders. Normal-hearing participants (n = 18) assigned a 10-point noticeability rating score to 100 sentences comprising unedited ‟no judder” sentences (n = 28), and ‟synthesised” sentences (n = 72) that varied in the severity (i.e. pixel difference value), number, and position of judders. The judders were found to be significantly noticeable compared to no judder controls, and based on mean rating score, 2,494 sentences with ‟minimal noticeable judder” were included in the auditory-visual UCAMST. Follow-on work should establish equivalent lists using these sentences. The average pixel difference value was found to be a significant predictor of rating score, therefore may be used as a guide in future development of auditory-visual speech tests assembled from video fragments. The aim of Study 2 was to normalise the auditory-alone UCAMST to make each audio fragment equally intelligible in noise. In Part I, individuals with normal hearing (n = 17) assessed 400 sentences containing each file fragment presented at four different SNRs (-18.5, -15, -11.5, and -8 dB) in both constant speech-shaped noise (n = 9) and six-talker babble (n = 8). An intelligibility function was fitted to word-specific data, and the midpoint (Lmid, intelligibility at 50%) of each function was adjusted to equal the mean pre-normalisation midpoint across fragments. In Part II, 30 lists of 20 sentences were generated with relatively homogeneous frequency of matrix word use. The predicted parameters in constant noise (Lmid = 14.0 dB SNR; slope = 13.9%/dB ± 0.0%/dB) are comparable with published equivalents. The babble noise condition was, conversely, less sensitive (Lmid = 14.9 dB SNR; slope = 10.3%/dB ± 0.1%/dB), possibly due to a smaller sample size (n = 8). Overall, this research constituted an important first step in establishing the UCAMST as a reliable measure of speech recognition; follow-on work will validate the normalisation procedure carried out in this project.

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  • Therapeutic Approaches in the Attenuation of Seizure-Induced Cardiomyopathy

    Andreianova, Anastasia Alexeevna (2015)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Single subcutaneous administration of Kainic acid (KA) in the rat produces significant levels of seizure activity, including head tremors, salivation and tonic-clonic convulsions. Using electrophysiological quantitative techniques which measure electroencephalographic (EEG) as well as electrocardiographic (ECG) trace activity following KA administration, the effects of seizure activity on the function of the heart were assessed over a 48 hour period. In addition, histopathological analysis was carried out in order to determine whether the ongoing seizure activity produced significant changes in ventricular myocardium indicative of irreversible cardiomyopathy. In order to determine the potential mechanism of action of KA-induced cardiac damage, a further two animal groups were examined. The groups consisted of animals pretreated with either atenolol or clonidine. The two different drugs were used in order to isolate systems involved in cardiac damage, where atenolol acts specifically in the periphery, while clonidine is known to act in the central nervous system. Analysis of EEG and concomitant ECG traces, during and following seizure activity demonstrated significant changes in heart rate (HR) as well as associated HR parameters compared to baseline. Upon further histological observations it was apparent that at 48 hours following KA administration, ischaemia was present as well as evidence of inflammatory cell infiltration, tissue tearing and oedema compared to saline treated animals. Further assessment of pretreated animal groups lead to the conclusion that atenolol was not protective against KA-induced cardiac damage in the rat while clonidine was. These findings propose that the mechanism by which KA-induced seizure activity results in cardiomyopathy is through modulation of brain centres associated with cardiac control, as opposed to KA binding to peripheral cardiac receptors as previously suggested.

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